Brion Treadway called it “a weird day.”
Badin High School’s baseball team made a late arrival at Kenton Ridge on Friday afternoon after its bus blew out a tire, and the Rams looked sketchy right from the start against Triad in a Division III district final.
Yet Badin found a way to survive and captured its 16th district championship, overcoming six errors and seven unearned runs in a 9-7 victory.
“I’m proud of the offensive guys that made adjustments and just kept plugging away,” said Treadway, the Rams’ second-year head coach. “It was ugly. I don’t know if anybody really deserved to win that baseball game. I don’t know what else to say, except I’m glad we won.”
T.J. Nichting went 4 for 4 with three doubles and two RBIs for Badin (21-6), which outhit Triad (25-6) by a 13-3 margin. Nichting also threw the last 1.1 innings to pick up his fourth save and preserve the win for Eric McGill.
The Rams will travel to Athletes in Action in Xenia on Thursday, facing Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy in a 5 p.m. regional semifinal.
“We kind of blew out a tire in the first three innings, but we found a way to win,” said Nichting, a senior shortstop. “It was kind of frustrating with all the errors. The key is not to get frustrated and keep playing on.”
Badin rallied from 4-0 and 5-3 deficits. Starter Cameron Mohr pitched three innings and allowed his five unearned runs on just one hit, though he did issue four walks and hit a batter.
Amid all the terrible Ram defense was a diving catch by left fielder Cole Heflin to squash a bases-loaded threat in the bottom of the first inning.
“I thought we did everything we could in situations to get runs across,” Triad coach Will Nichols said. “I’m not sure if we could’ve done anything else besides make a couple great defensive plays.”
Colton Young and Trent McIntyre did the pitching for the Cardinals, with McIntyre taking the loss in relief. Nick Browning’s two-run single in the sixth pushed the Rams ahead for good 7-5.
Zack Gray drove in two runs. Noah Henson and Matt Kreke chipped in two hits apiece, and Houston Krause cracked a pivotal pinch-hit double for Badin.
“Our offense has always been there,” Treadway said. “We don’t stress the first time through the order. We make adjustments and get it done.”
Nichting took the mound with an 8-5 lead and two runners on base in the bottom of the sixth. Seth Collier promptly lifted a fly ball that was mishandled, making it 8-7.
But Nichting retired four of the next five batters (the leadoff man walked in the seventh) to close out the win.
“I felt good,” he said. “I wasn’t worried. I had my one-run lead. That’s all I needed.”